Now for the Hedgehogs -
Continuing on with our blog about watching wildlife in your garden.
Hedgehogs are a firm favorite among garden wildlife watchers, the little mammals feature in fairy stories and are really cute to look at up close, but they should not be handled unless they are in danger and then only with stout gloves on - for obvious reasons.
Discovering if you have hedgehogs in your garden is quite difficult, they are nocturnal and don't like humans, so you might have to resort to covert operations in order to find out.
First thing to try is to leave out a little Hedgehog food
in a saucer, locate it near to a hedge or wood pile or similar cover, put it our at night and see if it has been touched by the next morning, do this for several nights in the same place and change the location after three nights until you see signs of a visitor to the saucer. Next thing to do is to find out what has been visiting your offerings. It could be anytime between midnight and dawn, so you will need to be clever if you don't fancy pitching your tent for the night. Find something firm to place your saucers on, like a 600 x 600 mm slab, or a square piece of plywood. Take some flour and lightly cover the surface then place your saucers in the middle, take a look the next morning to see if you can identify the tracks left behind. If you fancy really getting serious, you could make a tracking tunnel, this is a triangular tube of plywood with one of the sides being hinged to allow access. Your saucer of food is placed in the middle and you line the bottom of the tunnel with clean white paper. About 100 mm into the tunnel soak a kitchen towel in ink and leave it across the tunnel, so the Hedgehog has to walk over it, this will leave you with a lovely tracking pattern (see below) to identify and you can replace the paper each night to see who else is visiting your food offerings. Next in line for 'up market' observation has to be the wildlife camera
. Set up your feeding saucers and line up the camera on them, set the sensors for distance and sit back. Next morning watch the results on your TV while enjoying your cornflakes! now that is the way to do it:)
- Somewhere to put up for the winter?
- Find out if you have any nocturnal visitors.